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Roots Society presents photo depicting Melmerby sinking to community centre


The Pictou County Roots Society recently presented a 16-inch by 20-inch photo on plaque board on the Wreck of the Melmerby to the Little Harbour Community Centre.

The Roots Society presented a plaque board photo of the sinking of the Melmerby to the Little Harbour Community Centre. From left are Melmerby researcher Glen Williams, Roots member Clyde Macdonald, Roots board member Philip MacKenzie and Carolyn Sullivan of the Little Harbour Community Centre. ADAM MACINNIS – THE NEWS

The Melmerby ship sank on Oct. 12, 1890, and is considered the worst marine disaster of the northern Nova Scotia coast.

Fifteen lives were lost when the Melmerby, a 1,400-ton barque was wrecked off Roy Island, Pictou County, near what is today known as Melmerby Beach. The ship had been travelling from Quebec and was destined for Greenock, Scotland.

Capt. Martin Olsen of Denmark was in command and his was the only body every recovered of the 15 lost. His remains had washed ashore near Lismore. Identification on him indicated that he was a member of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

Several members of the Albion Lodge, A.F. and A.M., New Glasgow, took an interest in Capt. Olsen and caused him to be buried on private property in McArras Brook, Antigonish County.

During the First World War, the members of Albion Lodge erected a memorial over his grave. Engraved on the memorial is: “Near here is buried the remains of Capt. Olsen of the Barque Melmerby, Little Harbour.” To date, members of the Albion Lodge maintain an interest in this grave site.

The photo will be hung in the Little Harbour Community Centre.

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